Engineering geologists have unique skills that make their role in delivering the United Nations SGDs an important one
Engineering geologists have unique skills that make their role in delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) an important one. It is essential for engineering geologists to communicate their value in this endeavour yet they often lack the practical holistic information, specific to engineering geology, that enables them to clearly understand how they can, or already do, contribute to sustainable development.
It is essential for engineering geologists to communicate their value in this endeavour yet they often lack the practical holistic information
To help empower engineering geologists to communicate their value more confidently, and thereby enhance their influence and impact, Richard Lagesse at Arup, in Los Angeles, USA, and colleagues from Arup and the British Geological Survey, carry out a mapping exercise using the published literature and project case studies from a range of different geographies, organisations and development contexts. They review all the 169 targets that make up the 17 SDGs against typical engineering geology knowledge, skills and activities, to understand how engineering geologists currently contribute to the SDGs and identify areas where contributions could be increased. The methodology used identifies direct dependencies between engineering geology and some of the SDGs, in addition to indirect dependencies of all other SDGs.
The results show that engineering geologists can contribute to all the SDGs, with their skills directly relevant to 82 of the 169 targets, and indirectly relevant to a further 25 targets. The primary areas of impact
are through infrastructure development, building resilience and disaster risk reduction, as well as environmental protection. Secondary contributions include the development of equitable and effective communities, and the creation of collaborative and strong partnerships. The study goes further by articulating the strength of the contributions of engineering geologists to each target, thereby highlighting opportunities to maximise and extend their impact. For example, the authors suggest that engineering geologists should look to extend their influence in policy-making, and have greater consideration of the impact of climate change at various stages in their projects.
- Q. J. Eng. Geol. Hydrogeol. In Press (2022); doi.org/10.1144/qjegh2021-127